NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State football team dropped a heartbreaking overtime game at the hands of Murray State. The Tigers fell 46-43 on Senior Day at Hale Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Loss dropped TSU to 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference. MSU improved to 3-6, 2-4 in conference.
The game featured one big play after another. Sophomore wide receiver Patrick Smith was a major contributor as he finished with a career high 248 yards as he tied a career high with nine receptions. Smith ended the game one yard shy of the TSU single game record of 249 set by Tyronne Butterfield at Murray State on Nov. 14, 1998.
Smith recorded a pair of long distance touchdown receptions with a 70 yard pass from O’Shay Ackerman-Carter in the first quarter and followed it up with an 81-yarder in the third. The second, is the seventh longest receiving touchdown in school history and the second longest of the season for the redshirt-sophomore.
Ackerman-Carter notched a career-high with 329 yards and four touchdowns. The redshirt-freshman connected on 23 passes in 33 attempts and tossed one interception.
The Racers counterpart, KD Humphries, ended the day 34-of-51 for 366 yards, three scoring passes and one interception.
The Tigers built a 40-30 lead after three quarters only to see the Racers score ten points in the final stanza to force an extra session. The Tigers scored on their first possession with a 37-yard field goal off the foot of Lane Clark giving TSU a 43-40 lead.
Murray State relied on the legs of Roman Clay who carried the ball on all four plays in the additional stanza. Clay found the left edge on the first play and picked up 19-yards setting up the Racers with a first and goal from the six. MSU continued to pound the interior line of the Tigers as Clay finally pierced the goal line from the two on third down giving the Racers the win.
In the first quarter, the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 as Erick Evans outran defenders for 58 yards. The sophomore-transfer finished the game with 96 yards on 17 carries and scored for the fourth consecutive week.
The Racers needed just 92 seconds to regain the lead as Humphries found Jess Blackburn on a 63-yard scoring pass. The Tigers proved they could score fast as well, as Ackerman-Carter and Smith teamed for the first of their two scoring passes.
The Tigers would find a groove and scored on its next two drives to take a 26-14 advantage. Ackerman-Carter opened the second quarter with a three yard scoring pass to Chris Sanders-McCollum, before Telvin Hooks entered the end zone on a two yard run.
The TSU momentum was halted after the Hooks run, as Murray State blocked its second point-after-touchdown. Shawn Samuels-Connell picked up the batted ball and raced 90 yards the other direction to earn two points for his squad, cutting the lead to 26-16.
Touchdowns to end the half and then to begin the second half propelled MSU to a 30-26 lead. The Tigers would once again catch fire as Ackerman-Carter found Rodney Morris for a touchdown and followed up with the second bomb to Smith.
The Big Blue defense did find success on Saturday afternoon with eight sacks, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, five forced fumbles, two recoveries and an interception. Ebenezer Ogundeko led the charge recording three sacks and 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. The sophomore-transfer forced a fumble and picked up 10 tackles, seven solos.
The Tigers will take a week off before closing out the regular season on Nov. 21 at Tennessee Tech.
TSU won the toss and received the opening kickoff … 2:41 kickoff … TSU’s captains were Dinsdale Jackson, Aaron Woods, O’Shay Ackerman-Carter and Joe Bowens … Today’s game was the 27th meeting between the two programs … Saturday was the Tigers’ final home game at Hale Stadium this season … The game was broadcast live by American Sports Network, TSU’s third game on ASN this season … Next week’s season finale at Tennessee Tech will also be an ASN broadcast … The Tigers picked up their first sack of Ohio Valley Conference play … Erick Evans scored has now scored a touchdown in three-consecutive games … Evans’ touchdown was a 58-yard run, which is the second-longest rush of his career … The 70-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Smith in the first quarter was the longest pass in freshman O’Shay Ackerman-Carter’s career … Patrick Smith’s 81-yard third quarter touchdown tied for eighth-longest play in school history … School record for receiving yards in a game is 249, which was set in 1998 by Tyrone Butterfield versus Murray State.